Oh, July 1st. It’s the beginning of the first full month of summer and the unofficial kick-off to summer vacation, culminating in a desire to have some classic summer party time and explore the events the city has to offer.

Needless to say, 2020 has been a little bit… different. The summer parties are small and often virtual, but not lacking in joy and friendship. Fortunately, there are still opportunities for crafty activities and important learning experiences at your favourite venues this Canada Day in the year of COVID.

The London Heritage Council has teamed up with Museum London, London Children’s Museum, and Fanshawe Pioneer Village to create a full day of virtual and hands-on Canada Day programming, supported by the Government of Canada. Read on for a preview of what you can expect for your midweek summer kick-off!

Have A Picnic with Fanshawe Pioneer Village

Though you may not be able to physically experience the charming Fanshawe Pioneer Village this year, there will be several virtual and hands-on activities to take part in!

The Pioneer Village will host two virtual concerts, one with folk duo The Schotts, and one with AlvegoRoot Theatre. At 1:00 pm, the Pioneer Village will host a virtual flag raising with The Royal Scots in recognition of Dominion Day, including a speech about the history of the holiday.

Canada Day at Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Members of the Royal Scots at a Dominion Day celebration at Fanshawe Pioneer Village in 2017. Photo provided by the London Heritage Council.

There will also be the opportunity to create some special treats of the Victorian era! “Many Victorians couldn’t afford large holidays so a picnic outing was often the single-day outing of choice.” Public Programming Alison Deplonty explains.  “Most of the time it would be a rather fancy affair where good manners and comfortable seating were crucial.” As part of their programming, the Pioneer Village will highlight some of the picnic etiquette of the time, and share a recipe for a staple of afternoon tea: Victoria Sponge Cake.

What’s cake without ice cream? The Pioneer Village folks will also offer a virtual demonstration of an old-fashioned ice cream maker, and show how you can make ice cream in a mason jar at home!

While enjoying your picnic, be sure to mark your calendars for Saturday, July 10th, the Fanshawe Pioneer Village’s tentative re-opening date!

Make Some Noise with the London Children’s Museum

A beloved local spot for engaging with history, art, and science, the London Children’s Museum has several activities planned for kids of all ages to share with their families.

Canada Day at London Children's Museum
A stop at London Children’s Museum is a staple in many London families’ Canada Days, but this year, they can enjoy free, online activities from the safety of their home. Photo provided by London Heritage Council.

“All these programs are hands-on and use materials families can find at home or outside,” Marketing & Sales Manager Mira Noordermeer explains. Viewers will learn how to make noisemakers using compostable materials, and for the very little ones, Canada Day-themed sensory bins. There will even be a ‘fireworks in a jar’ science activity!

“Our goal, as always, is to provide families with different ways to play and learn together,” Mira says.

And remember, these activities are for kids of all ages, including if you are a kid at heart! The London Children’s Museum encourages everyone who is taking part to share their creations on social media using the hashtag #CanadaDayLDN.

Admire the Arts with Museum London

Museum London will be sharing a virtual tour of Taking the Long View, an exhibition showcasing select works from the Museum’s extensive permanent collection. Travel the visual art history of London, Ontario through some movie magic.

Taking the Long View Museum London Canada Day
One of the pieces featured in Museum Londonss Taking the Long View Exhibition by Lawren Stewart Harris. This piece is entitled From the North Shore, Lake Superior, c. 1927. Image courtesy of Museum London.

And, for all fans of Museum London’s iconic Imagination Station program, there are artmaking activities to be had! Artists of all ages can take part in two virtually-led art activities.

Artist Jacqeline Demendeev will lead you in a video tutorial on how to create a Canada Jay, Canada’s National Bird, using materials from home. As the Museum London website explains, the Canada Jay “is also known as the grey jay or the whisky jack, which is a variation on the name Wisakedjak, a benevolent trickster in Cree, Algonquin, and Menominee cultures.”

Then, artist Jen Hamilton will lead viewers in a creating a maple leaf print using a rubbing technique. All you need is a maple leaf of choice, paper, a pencil, and coloured pencils or crayons. Museum London’s page suggests “to thank the tree for bringing you its shade, quiet, and steady presence before taking a leaf for this art project.”

Finally, there will be quizzes, as well as opportunities to compete for a puzzle from the Museum London gift shop by completing online puzzles released for the day in the fastest time! Put any puzzling skills you’ve developed in the pandemic to the text!

Show Your Canada Day Spirit

Plus, the London Heritage Council has teamed up with Downtown London, Dundas Place, the Covent Garden Market, Budweiser Gardens, and Tourism London to bring an exciting contest to encourage everyone to celebrate Canada Day at home.

Share a photo or video that shows off your Canada Day spirit on Instagram or Twitter until 11:59pm on June 28 using the hashtag #CanadaDayLDN and tagging @CanadaDayLDN for a chance to win. Prizes include $250 in Downtown Dollars, $200 in Covent Garden Market gift certificates, a Tourism London gift pack, Canada Day-themed t-shirts and hats, posters from Budweiser Gardens, passes and gift certificates to local museums, and more.

Winners will be notified on Canada Day. You can find the full contest details on the London Heritage Council’s website.

Canada Day London: Stay Home Edition

Plan out your day with the full schedule of events, available from the London Heritage Council.

Canada Day at Home
Enjoy Canada Day at Home with several of your local museums, including Fanshawe Pioneer, Village, Museum London, and London Children’s Museum. Image provided by the London Heritage Council.

Make some cake and ice cream, watch your own personal fireworks display, and settle in for a virtual tour of visual art history as you begin summer with your families!

This post is powered by the London Heritage Council. The mission of the London Heritage Council is to bring Londoners together to celebrate our shared stories.

Feature photo courtesy of the London Heritage Council

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